"Gentlemen, ladies, what do we suppose this is?" asked Ichabod, gesturing to the curved metal apparatus that had dropped from above.
"I do propose that it is a sign from the good lord, telling us that the virtuous will ascend into heaven," said Father Troot.
"Only if you believe in myths and fairy tales," said Professor Funa replied. She glared at Father Troot. "Myths and fairy tales. Surely it is a sign of intelligent life from above, a being capable of using tools and manufacturing a hook!"
At this last claim the Council of Wise Fish degenerated, as it so frequently did, into name-calling and fin-waving.
"You are a stupid land-dweller, crawling out of the good water that the lord provided to suffocate in the thin air beyond!"
"I propose a water-filled tank that would allow us to chart and explore the places overair!"
"It would never work! It is impossible to pump water into a gaseous environment, the equations just don't work..."
The Fish Chief rapped together two shells to silence the assembly. He swam up above the crowd as a hush fell. With several gulps of water to clear his gills, he began to speak.
"Fishgentleman and fishladies, the decision rests with me. I propose that we explore the hook. I mean no disrespect to Father Troot, and I certainly don't mean to endorse Professor Funa without reservation, but the opportunities that this represents to our understanding of overair geography are impossible to ignore. I will not, however, command a fish to approach the hook and analyze it. That would be overstepping the trust granted to me by you, the noble fishpeople. I can say that whichever fish that is brave enough, bold enough to survey the hook and report back will be recognized as a selfless fish indeed."
The crowd nodded to each other. Professor Funa, to the surprise of the assembly, swam up to meet the Fish Chief.
"It is too dangerous to risk one of our finest intellectuals!" Father Troot said, eliciting a gasp from the assembly. Professor Funa stared, even more buggy-eyed than she normally was. "It is true that Professor Funa and I have our philosophical differences. But I have my own respect and admiration for her, and to lose her over this would be a disservice to our community."
"Professor Funa, do you accept this task of your own free will?" the Fish Chief asked.
Professor Funa nodded.
"Then go, and survey the hook," the Fish Chief said.
Professor Funa swam up to the hook and, using the finest methods of fish science available, bit it. The hook flew upwards with Professor Funa attached to it.
"No!" Father Troot said. "We have gained nothing by the loss of her life!"
And that is how the first professor from Fish University was ordained as a Saint in the Fish Church.
The Moral: modern science offers accurate, safe analytical techniques that don't involve putting unknown substances on your tongue, so don't. Unless it smells like barbecue sauce.